Conservative groups call on media outlets to stop citing SPLC's 'hate list'

(Wikimedia Commons/Nameofuser25)The Southern Poverty Law Center headquarters in Montgomery, Alabama.

A coalition of conservative organizations has issued an open letter calling on media outlets to stop using the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) "hate group" map as a legitimate source of information.

On Wednesday, 47 conservative groups urged journalists to stop using data compiled by the SPLC, which lists conservative advocacy groups alongside Neo Nazis and white nationalists.

"To associate public interest law firms and think tanks with neo-Nazis and the KKK is unconscionable, and represents the height of irresponsible journalism," the letter reads in part, as reported by The Christian Post.

"All reputable news organizations should immediately stop using the SPLC's descriptions of individuals and organizations based on its obvious political prejudices," it continued.

Among the signatories were Media Research Center President L. Brent Bozell III; Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins; Liberty Counsel founder and Chairman Mat Staver; Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) President Michael Farris; ACT for America founder and Chairman Brigitte Gabriel; Traditional Values Coalition President Andre Lafferty; and World Net Daily CEO Joseph Farah.

SPLC was founded in 1971 as a non-profit legal advocacy group that had successfully won battles against racist factions like the Ku Klux Klan.

However, critics have contended that the organization has shifted ideologically over the years and is now being described as "an attack dog of the political left."

"As genuine 'hate groups' such as the Ku Klux Klan have dwindled, the SPLC has broadened its target list in order to justify its continued existence," the FRC stated.

"In recent years, whole categories and new groups have been added not because of actual 'hate' activities, but because they hold conservative positions on controversial political issues such as immigration and homosexuality," it added.

The organization has been criticized for its vilification of Christians and other individuals who speak out against radical Islam, such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Muslim activist Maajid Nawaz.

In the letter, the conservative groups also accused the SPLC of endangering the lives of conservative groups and individuals.

In 2012, Floyd Lee Corkins II went to the offices of FRC in Washington D.C., and shot and badly wounded its building manager, Leo Johnson, who thwarted the attack. It was later revealed in court that Corkins targeted the FRC using the SPLC website's "hate map."

Following the incident, the SPLC issued a statement denouncing the attack, and maintaining that it "deplores all violence."

The SPLC has recently been sued by D. James Kennedy Ministries after the left-leaning organization listed the Christian group in its "hate map."

In July, the ADF demanded an apology from ABC News for describing the conservative law firm in a news report as a "hate group," based on the SPLC's classification.

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